I have made a few key observations since my last race. This is the first time in close to three years that I am not actively training for some race, even just a 5k, and aside from the mental issues (that sounds weird, right?) I am dealing with, there are the physical issues that have arisen that have taken me completely by surprise. I made a conscious decision to back off training and to not race anymore this year; not to be completely idle, but to just give myself a little rest after a tough year of races, injury, and general bad crap that has happened in my life. I expected to feel fatigue as an after-effect of the months of heavy training I did for Augusta, but wow, am I surprised to see and feel my body's reaction to well, inactivity.
I am TIRED. Like physically exhausted. All the time. Saturday night I fell asleep at 7:30 p.m., and did not wake up until almost 7 the next morning (which, for someone like me, might as well be lunchtime). And my normal afternoon lull is more like a walking coma.
I am SORE. My everything hurts. My knees are achy, my shoulders hurt, my back is acting up. When I have done a workout, I notice that my stamina is already beginning to wane. It seems that the LACK of activity makes me hurt more than any punishment of hard training ever did.
I am HUNGRY. ALL. THE. TIME. You'd think the decrease in training would equate to a decrease in appetite. Listen closely to the sounds of the diet gods slapping their knees and guffawing wildly at the presumption!! My tummy still thinks it's feeding a person engaged in 8-10 hours of training per week. My hips are fully aware that the exact opposite is true, and have laid out the welcome mat for the excess calories that are being consumed. I know, I know, I need to put the kibosh on the carbs. I don't need a lecture.
I am SQUIRRELY. One minute I want to sign up for every race within 100 miles of my house. The next minute I want to get a bowl of ice cream. When I do get out for a workout, I feel good, but sitting on the couch feels pretty amazing, too. There are two distinct personalities waging a little battle within me right now: the Type A triathlete who is dying to race again and the lazy slacker who wants you to pass the Chips Ahoy.
My MIGRAINES have returned. I used to get migraines pretty regularly. As a teen, I was on copious amounts of meds for them. They subsided greatly when I was pregnant and nursing, but returned with a vengeance in my mid-30's. When I began running and racing, I noticed that they only came around a few times a year, and didn't hang around for as long. In the last three weeks since I raced at Augusta, I have gotten three doozies, two of them in the past seven days alone. Migraines make me MUCH less pleasant than I am now which, unless I am driving, is pretty darned pleasant.
I thought taking a break from training would be exactly what I needed. And it is. The problem that I am faced with, though, is that I don't know how to just go for a run, or take my bike out for a ride. I think with all the training that I've been doing over the last few years, I never learned how to just enjoy a workout that has no real purpose but to release stress, burn calories, and clear my head.
My body is sending me a loud and clear message. That message being, "Get off your butt, or I am going to go into full-on attack mode." So, obviously, it is time for action.
My goal for the next two weeks is to head out my front door, and just run. NO intervals, NO tempo, NO time or distance goal. I want to see if I can find a happy running place, because goodness knows that has been an issue in the short history that is this fitness lifestyle of mine. Then maybe my bike and I can kiss and make up.